Awesome Autumn: A Story of Inclusion and Determination
REED CITY – When you watch football on a Friday night at Reed City, the cheer team is always there to keep you pumped up.
One of those cheerleaders is junior Autumn Sims and she brings some extra light to the athletic programs at the school.
Sims has Down Syndrome, but she doesn’t let that stop her in the slightest. She is on the varsity cheer team along with the JV basketball team.
“She gets the crowd pumped up and gets the other cheerleaders pumped up. She’s just an overall joy to be around so she just wears off on everyone else,” said her cheer coach Brittany Kosmalski.
Her coaches describe her energy and determination as contagious.
“She’s become quite a good shooter, she gets out there and takes her chance,” said Neil Harrison, the Reed City JV basketball coach. “She knows her spot on the floor where she’s best at making shots and there’s a good chance it’s going in when she gets it up. She’s awesome on the bench because she’s got her natural cheerleading ability from football cheer and when she’s on our bench for the rest of the girls, it’s contagious and they all cheer with her and it’s awesome.”
The inclusion and the happiness it brings Sims is an undeniable bonus.
“I like playing basketball and cheerleading because they are fun. I like being apart of a team. I have a lot fun of playing sports, they make me really happy,” said Sims.
It’s not just her own school and teammates that share their support, but opponents as well.
“She’s just an overall amazing person, and I want to thank the other teams of being so supportive of her through basketball and cheerleading,” said Kosmalski. “They are so open and welcoming to her and our team and that shows a lot about the area schools and the sportsmanship that everyone entails in their students.”